Sunday I was expecting another of the team, this time, the man who would actually install the system. He came late, but only by three hours or so. Again the motorways were not doing their job very well, and all the men who came were apologetic, friendly and helpful, and it wasn't their fault that they weren't on time.
This man was single and young, and it his job was install the components of the system, and
then the next day, the electritian was to come and make it all work.
He was pleased with my kitchen having a large boiler cupboard as a good place for housing the product, and he got on and did it all – putting in copper pipes and lagging them, and hooking various bits of the old system to the new. It took a few hours, and he looked like he couldn't wait to get done and home again. He told us (my daughter and her family were there) that he hadn't had a weekend off for the last five weeks. But he was due one at the end of the next week, and he was looking forward to going home, (Back to Essex where most of this team came from.)
Everything went according to plan until it was time to connect it all up. He did something, and the power blew. I know very little about electrical supplies, but I did know where my fuse box was. He tried to make it work again, but it wouldn't so he rang the electrician who was on a day off, and with sending various pictures from their phones back and forth, he was eventually able to get it working again. He made sure all the radiators were getting warm, and he left.
I was supposed to pay the bill, and I said I wanted to do it by credit card, but he was uneasy about that, so he said I could pay the electrician the next day. That was fine with me, and he left. But a few minutes later there was a knock on the door, and he said he had called his boss who asked if I had internet banking. I said yes, so he asked me to pay that way, and off he went.
Now I am just about as stupid about banking as I am about electricity, and although I can transfer money from one account to another, I had never done it to an outside firm before. I had somehow thought that as I can transfer money into my credit account, I should be able to transfer it out of it. And I couldn't. So I looked at my current account, and seeing an unexpectedly large amount of money in it, I decided that I could use that to pay the bill. I assumed the cheques had cleared faster than anticipated. I had been told it would take a week, but here it was only one working day later, and they had done the job already. How stupid can you get?
So I went to bed feeling that everything was fine and good, and I had made very good use of my money. I think I might actually have slept the night through.
When I got up on Monday, I did as I always do, turned on the computer before going downstairs to get my first cup of coffee. And immediately the system blew again. I went to the fusebox and put the various buttons up and down, and nothing did the trick.
I though as soon as the electritian called to say he was coming, I could tell him about the problem. But then I looked at the phones – they wouldn't work. The computer didn't work. The TV didn't work. But I do have a mobile phone that I use when I travel, but it had very little charge and very little money on it.
I thought, “I will call the company and tell them to give the message to the electritian. But after 15 minutes of the holding on music, "you are still fifth in the queue," I decided my little bit of left over time should be put to better use. I called the man who had put the system in the day before. Luckily he answered, and told me that my electritian had called in sick, so wouldn't be coming anyway, but the boss said they would see if they could find one of the other guys to come over at the end of his
So how to spend a long time in an electicity free house? I read a book. I belong to a reading group and our book for this month is long and dull, and yet I managed about 400 pages until it was time to go out to play bridge.
At 6 p.m the electrician finally arrived and it didn't take him long to fix my electrics (and showed me how to do it in case it ever happens again) and then he redid the dodgy parts of the connection that had been done the day before, and the job was done.
“Finally, you can enjoy your new system,” you say, pleased for me. Well not quite yet. Because in the meantime, the batteries in the remote control that works the thermostat had given up, and there was no way the heating would work without them being renewed. I had none, so leaving me with the situation still far from satisfactory, my workman left, and I drove to the nearest supermarket and bought some A2 batteries. And I did manage to put them in the right slots, and like magic, it all worked. But of course, it was too warm to need the heating anyway, so there was no possibility of seeing if I had wasted my money, or whether I was about to start my new life in a lovely warm house.
(to be continued)